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Girls Lakers denied third straight state title

Libby Johnson and Stephanie Rice walked to the center of the field Sunday at SUNY-Cortland and accepted the plaque emblematic of the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team's successful 2007 season.

But it wasn't the plaque they wanted to receive.

Attempting to win a third consecutive state Class C championship, the Lakers were thwarted by Shoreham-Wading River, beaten in a gripping 11-9 title game where the Wildcats kept Skaneateles from making one more memorable comeback.

"It wasn't our day," said head coach Bridget Marquardt. "Everyone worked hard and played with a lot of heart, but they (Shoreham) were the better team."

So ended a weekend full of contrasts. Given the way Skaneateles had played Friday in its 19-4 destruction of Nanuet in the state Class C semifinals, hardly anyone could figure that any Class C team was capable of being better.

The Lakers were primed for the final, set for Saturday. They had gone through this routine twice before, in 2005 and '06, following up a strong semifinal performance with a successful title-game venture less than 24 hours later.

Only the Saturday final never happened this time. A fierce thunderstorm hit the Cortland area Friday night, keeping Shoreham from facing East Rochester in the other state semifinal until Saturday afternoon.

When they finally did play on Saturday, Shoreham won, 15-7, but the larger impact was on the idle Lakers. Marquardt said her team was primed to play that day, and the pushing back of the final to Sunday caused the team to lose a good share of its momentum.

If that was the case, it wasn't apparent early in the final. Kelsey Nangle scored twice, and when Libby Johnson found the net 8:33 into the game to make it 3-0, Shoreham was forced to use a time-out to regroup.

Shoreham head coach Bob Vlahakis said his team adjusted to the Lakers' attack by going into a zone, rarely used at the high-school level but utilized by three-time NCAA champion Northwestern.

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